Both Jephson and Raglan recognise the potential benefits of becoming an enlarged housing association group and are keen to explore options, they said.
Exploratory talks are expected to last until the autumn, when both boards will review the business case and decide whether to progress further.
Raglan owns and manages approximately 13,000 affordable low cost homes in almost 100 local authority areas. The main part of the business focuses on general needs accommodation along with a wide range of supported and specialist services. In the main, Raglan has grown organically across the southwest, the midlands and east, and the southeast.
Jephson manages more than 16,000 homes including general family housing, low-cost home ownership, housing for older people and housing for tenants with support needs. It includes Marches Housing Association, which was formed following the transfer of housing stock from Leominster District Council in 1994 and joined the Jephson Group as a subsidiary in May 1996.
Jephson chair Michael Collins said: “While both Jephson and Raglan are robust, successful organisations, we’d be stronger together than individually, enhancing what we do now as well as what we want to do in the future. The geography of the combined group would help us benefit from economies of scale and efficiencies. Both Raglan and Jephson share a similar ethos and values, which is an important consideration, particularly in terms of our staff and residents.”
Raglan chair George Blunden added: “Housing Associations need to get much smarter and be more creative to address the issues that lie ahead in the housing sector. Raglan has already begun this journey, undergoing a period of major business transformation which is already bearing fruit. We need to continue to look forward and strength and sustainability are key factors in our strategy of investment and growth. A combined organisation would be in the best position to respond to the changing external environment, including local and government policy.”